Cholesterol: Get to know it; it’s sticking around for a while.

Cholesterol

It is a fairly known fact that cholesterol is something that should be monitored and regulated; that is has a very serious effect on your overall well-being, a high total of it is bad, and all that jazz. But what exactly is cholesterol? What is considered healthy? How do you keep in it check, how do you know it’s actually high, what are some things to avoid or do to insure you actually have a healthy level of it. We’ll talk about those things here briefly, along with the possibility of cholesterol reaching too low of a level.

Cholesterol levels can fall into three ranges; for adults, a normal level usually ranges from 140-200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Any levels that reach above 240 mg/dl are considered high, and as you probably guess any levels dropping below 140 mg/dl are considered low.

But before diving into different levels of cholesterol, and all of the topics that encompass it, let’s cover very quickly what cholesterol even is. It is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in the body and is actually created by the liver. The foods that we eat also contain cholesterol, so as you will see momentarily that affect our levels substantially. Cholesterol is present in just about every nook and cranny of the body, including our brains, nerves, muscles, and yes most importantly—the heart.

Why is high cholesterol a concern?

Ultimately, if you have high levels of cholesterol throughout your body, you are increasing your chances at developing cardiovascular diseases, namely heart disease. While it is not good for the rest of the usual affected areas either, the heart is the most at risk here. The cholesterol will build up on the walls of the arteries that carry blood to and from your heart; if this build up gets to too high of levels, there is less blood being pumped, thus less oxygen flowing through your body. Heart attacks, stroke, and chest pain are also at risk here.  To find out your cholesterol levels, just be sure to visit your doctor and have yourself checked out. No use hiding from something as controllable as cholesterol.

heart fruits

How can I lower my cholesterol levels?

Don’t let a higher level of cholesterol scare you; your body creates it for a purpose and uses it to function properly, it’s just up to you to maintain it. That being said, there are ways to help control that pesky cholesterol, and they really are no brainers.

While such things like genetics, age, and weight are all also factors in what your levels are at naturally, actions you take can battle that. Aeorbic exercise is one of the most helpful things you can do to bring your levels down; aim for about 30-60 minutes of some type of aerobic exercise (running, swimming, biking) on most days out of the week.

Your diet is a huge contributor to the levels in your body. So it should come naturally to you that you should stop eating foods that contain high levels of fat (ice cream, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, etc.). Now you don’t need to cut it out completely, that’s nearly impossible. But start replacing those bad fats with good, healthy fats, especially monounsaturated fats. Think nuts, avocados, and other such foods.

Taking natural supplements is also a great idea, especially if your diet is not giving you sufficient nutrients and vitamins (and don’t beat yourself up over this either, a lot of people don’t get their required daily intake, so supplements are awesome!) Fish oil is an excellent one to consider; it is known to lower triglyceride levels (fatty cells, basically). Garlic is also a good supplement to take, as it is known to reduce over all levels of cholesterol on its own.

Other steps can be taken to fight high cholesterol like quitting smoking, practicing stress reduction techniques, and most importantly educating yourself on what it is you are putting in your body in the first place. Read labels, get to know the food you eat!

happy field girl

My levels are actually considered low, can this be a problem?

Low levels of cholesterol are obviously something you should strive for in terms of your health altogether; many if not almost all doctors have said there is really no huge health concern or chance of complications if your levels are below the normal level. A lot of people who are considered healthy have had extremely low levels, and never had any issues arise because of it.

However, there are always exceptions to the rules. While in general you should not worry about this, do be weary that every now and then something does come up. Your heart will be just fine, but it’s the other areas of your body that may be affected, if at all; the brain, liver, and digestive system have been known to rarely suffer from unusually low levels of cholesterol.

Some doctors have come across cases where depression and anxiety were present in people with very low levels; low levels of cholesterol can hinder the actions of serotonin. You may eventually develop higher risks of stroke; cholesterol actually helps maintain blood flow in the brain. There have also been cases of low baby weight in women who had low levels of cholesterol, and in some cases premature birth.

These are really the main concerns, and as mentioned, they rarely ever occur in conjunction with low levels of cholesterol, so do not worry yourself over it.

So, you’re saying cholesterol is not the worst thing and is here to stay?

That’s right! Cholesterol is absolutely necessary in order for your body to function properly. But, as with most things in our lives, we just need to be sure to maintain a healthy balance of it in order for it to do its job appropriately. So that of course means living in moderation and taking actions to keep yourself healthy. More than just your cholesterol is going to benefit from that!

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The Myriad Adverse Effects Of Fast Food

fast food

What is fast food? There are various definitions of fast food and different names given to it as well. Technically, any food that can be quickly prepared, cooked and served can be regarded as fast food. However, time is not the only determining factor. Had that been the case then your fruit juice back home, which takes only a few minutes to make provided your blender or grinder is setup, would have been fast food as well.

What Is Fast Food, Actually?

Fast food is any food that has been cooked quickly but also whose ingredients or all the food items going into the recipe have been precooked, prepared and stored for a while prior to the actual cooking. Another piece of detail that has become significantly relevant in today’s context is the processed and ready to cook foods.

When any food is not cooked in its traditional way, it falls under the definition of what is fast food. For instance, take the example of soup. If you make soup the traditional way by cooking the broth, boiling the vegetables or chicken and any other ingredient that you want, use salts and everything else from your kitchen, then it is not fast food. However, if you were to buy a ready to cook soup, bring it home and add the mix to water and get your soup, without doing anything else, then it is fast food.

Fast food typically applies to what you get at restaurants and takeaways where the foods are prepared long before they are cooked, the foods are processed heavily and they are mostly fried or quickly cooked in high heat ovens. Burgers, pizzas, fish and chips, sandwiches (unless using all fresh ingredients which are completely unprocessed) and even sushi and pasta are fast foods.

fast food top

Effects Of Fast Foods

Fast foods are not good for us. There can be no debate on that. Doctors, dietitians, nutritionists and scientists from every nook and corner of the world have reiterated time and again, published numerous studies and results of researches that fast foods are one of the worst curses of the modern world. If there is something that you should quit right today, then it has to be fast foods.

There are numerous effects of fast foods. First, fast foods lead to obesity. In the US and most developed countries, obesity has become the greatest health challenge today. Everywhere you look and anyone you meet, you are more likely to meet an obese child or adult and rarely would you get to see a man or woman with a healthy body, one who is fit and agile. From the perspective of obesity and fitness, you would not be able to lose belly fat if you keep eating fast foods. Fast foods do nothing positive to your energy level. Fast foods cannot be classified as healthy eating. Thus, if you want to fight obesity or weight gain, if you intend to lose weight and enjoy optimum energy level and if you wish to indulge in healthy eating then you have to quit fast foods. Obesity is one of the unavoidable fast food effects.

What Else?

Among the other effects of fast foods, a significant one is its impacts on health of the heart. Most junk or fast foods increase the cholesterol and glucose levels in our blood. Higher cholesterol is not good for your heart. Higher blood sugar levels will cause diabetes. There are millions of people living with diabetes in the US which is one of the direct effects of fast foods. Fast foods increase the blood pressure which again directly impacts your heart. If you want to avoid cardiac problems then apart from exercising, you should avoid fast foods.

Fast foods interfere with everything that is natural in our body. It hinders the natural biological growth of a child. They do not have any nutrition that the body desires. Instead, they are rich in toxins. Artificial flavors, chemicals, colors and all types of synthesized ingredients have very little nutrition to offer. They would only harm your health, in the short term and in the long term.

Once in a while indulging in fast foods can be acceptable but making it a part of your daily or even weekly diet is against the very principles of healthy eating. You would not only fail to lose belly fat if you eat fast foods, you would also fail to live a healthy life.

The effects of fast foods are not noticeable instantly. They feel good to taste and are also filling on most occasions. It is only after months of gorging on them that you would notice the first mild effects of fast foods. Most people do not pay heed to such minor fast food effects and soon enough they become a health concern.

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Sugar In Food – A Surprising Amount In Everything!

sugar in drinks

Almost everything has some form of sugar and we as a society seem to never get enough, but are there some consumable items that might shock you to be worse than others?

First off, let’s bring to light what sugar can do to your body. This sweet substance can bring on a slew of health problems, a few of which are major issues common among those who like to overindulge. The big two would be diabetes and obesity. In truth sugar can definitely make things seem to taste drastically better but there is a toll for it in the long term.

Obesity is rapidly becoming more common among the populace. From a young age children are exposed to sugar as this holy treat full of goodness. I’m sure most people at the time were thinking, “I wish I could eat [insert disgustingly high sugar content item here] for the rest of my life!”. You used to get extremely excited whenever your parents or someone asked if you want a treat or to go down to the store because you know you’re about to leap onto a cloud full of angelic awesomeness. Then you grow a bit older and maybe you started getting a bad case of acne. From there it can just snowball into a mound of unwanted effects or conditions. Everyone is different but no one is invincible to the effects of sugar.

The problem is that instead of treating sugar like, well a “treat”; We instead ingest it all day everyday like it’s common place and normal to do so. Dr. Robert Lustig, author of the book Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar claims that 75% – 80% of all obesity stems from insulin which is created from sugar intake. In a previous blog post on Why You Shouldn’t Neglect H2O I wrote about how a consistent diet of soft drinks is absolutely awful for you. Your body can handle some sugar spurts but when it is routinely consumed that’s a completely different story.

sugar in food

20 Common Foods With High Sugar Levels

Now some of these are surprising and some are not. Something to keep in mind is that even when you think you are eating something “healthy” it very well might be packed with extra sugar. It’s smart to check the nutrition facts or even the ingredients on the back of the packaging yourself. You might be surprised to see some things like dried fruits and sugar listed as the first ingredient instead of fruit!

  1. Sugar/Sweeteners (Stop or loosen up on adding this to everything!)
  2. Soft drinks
  3. Dried fruit (look for unsweetened instead)
  4. Flavoured yogurt
  5. Cereal
  6. Flavoured Oatmeal
  7. Spaghetti
  8. Fruit juice
  9. Sweetened Iced Tea
  10. Sports Drinks
  11. Salad Dressing
  12. Ketchup (along with many other sauces)
  13. Low Fat/Fat Free Sweets
  14. Energy Bars
  15. Granola
  16. Fruit Smoothies
  17. Frozen TV Dinners
  18. Canned Baked Beans
  19. Jam/Jelly/Spreads
  20. Apple Sauce

Sugar Is a Drug

Drugs alter your mind, are addictive and usually toxic. So is sugar! Imagine if a food company laced your meals with morphine so that you’d buy more? The public would go nuts. So they use sugar to get people hooked.

Most of the items commonly consumed that are clearly treats also don’t offer any nutritional value. This is a massive concern especially when it comes to kids. The worst thing you can do is have your kids hooked early. It’s extremely easy to eat sugary foods and gain weight but it’s quite the opposite trying to lose the sugar and weight.

Sugar

13 Side Effects Of Sugar Intake

  1. Obesity
  2. Diabetes
  3. Heart failure/disease
  4. Cancer
  5. High blood pressure
  6. Restrain the immune system
  7. Poor memory
  8. Acne
  9. Tooth decay
  10. Learning disorders
  11. Depression
  12. Headaches and migraines
  13. Yeast infection

So What You’re Saying Is?

Reduce, limit or avoid as much sugar as possible. A lot of foods even thought to be healthy already have sugars. Fruits in particular are a huge source of sugar. Teach the world that sugar is a treat and not an everyday pleasure. Check out the nutrition facts and ingredients on the back of consumables to make sure sugar isn’t the first and highest rated item. Oh and do yourself a favour and replace most your beverage choices with water!

Hope you liked this post! Please feel free to like, share, tweet and comment. If you want to discuss your favorite interests and make money while doing it then click here.

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